People applying for jobs at Redbridge Council will no longer need to disclose unspent criminal convictions

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council has become the second local authority in the country to become a Ban the Box employer, meaning job applicants will no longer need to disclose their unspent criminal convictions on their application form.

A motion put forward by Councillor Sadiq Kothia and seconded by Councillor Vanisha Solanki agreed that the council will review its job application processes and applicants will not be asked to disclose their unspent criminal convictions on their initial application forms.

Re-offending costs society up to £13billion a year and research shows that employment reduces offending by 33per cent to 50pc, Cllr Kothia said.

"It's therefore in every community's interest to reduce the barriers to work for people with criminal convictions," he said. "Everyone in life deserves a second chance."

Ban the Box is an international campaign and aims to encourage all employers to assess the suitability of job applicants on the basis of their skills, experience and interest in the job.

Bristol Council was the first local authority to adopt Ban the Box in 2016 and in its recruitment processes and it's believed Redbridge Council is now the second.

Councillors agreed that the policy will increase the quality and talent of applicants and not rule them out at the first hurdle and it will help integrate the convicted criminals back into contributing members of society.

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Applicants would be asked to disclose any convictions at a later stage of the application process.

Cllr Solanki said: "Redbridge should be an employer which encourages and provides opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

"Our young people, who might have a criminal record through no fault of their own, deserve a second chance."

The council will continue to carry out DBS checks for all posts covered by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

"That disclosure will absolutely continue," Cllr Kothia said.

Other than for those posts, the motion agreed that the council is not obliged to request information on criminal convictions from job applicants.

Cllr Anne Sachs said: "Applicants with convictions will be able to get through the first stage - they get the change to make a good first impression without having to disclose information which disproportionately overshadows their good points.

"Let's give these applicants a chance to turn the corner - a future worth resisting crime for."

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